Elements of Comics - Plot
Comic books are a very special medium of story telling. For one, from the word comic book you already can deduce that a comic book is a book. The word comic, on the other hand, means funny or, in this connotation, enjoyable. Put it all together and you have an enjoyable book. Now, that doesn’t seem too sophisticated. A compilation of comic books is called a graphic novel. If you dissect the phrase “graphic novel”, graphic would mean visual and novel would mean fiction prose. Put it all back together and it becomes visual fiction prose, which seems more complicated and sophisticated and a better term that can explain the components or elements of a comic book: LITERATURE + ART = COMIC BOOK
I guess since you don’ see the word plot anywhere in there your wondering, “Why plot?” You see plot is a part of any narrative literature and since most, if not all, comic stories are narratives, plot becomes part of the picture …
So enjoy (if you can)
Remember the plot diagram from english class?
Exposition = background info, introduction, set up of tone and theme
Rising Action = built up of suspense, events that occur, conflicts
Climax = turning point, comes to terms with emotions or physically exciting
Falling action = calming down
Resolution =loose ends are tied
Unlike your run of the mill book, the plot structure of a comic book arc and a comic book issue are independent if each other. Arcs follow the plot diagram while a comic book may or may complete the plot diagram. From personal experience, I believe there are three common plot structures for comic books (either that or I have an affinity towards these plot structures):
1. Half Plot - This is when a comic book is in the middle of a story arc and the book only reaches the rising action or the climax, in the form of a cliff hanger.
A decent example would be in Batman and Robin #6. Towards the end of this issue Damian/Robis is being tortured. The villain then sadistically forces batman, through Robin’s communicator, to listen to him suffer.
Batman’s reaction (as you can see abov)e is an example of an emotional climax.
2. Mid-fall Plot - In this plot structure, the issue ends in the falling action. This usually occurs when the battle has finally been won and the main conflict is resolved.
For example in New x-men #41 p 20-23
3. ¼ + Plot - This plot structure is a combination of the falling action and/or resolution of the previous arc, and the exposition and the rising action of the next arc. The issue ends in the rising action. These comic book issues usually conclude with a cliff hanger, though these cliff hangers are usually part of the rising action.
For example in New x-men #42. In this issue life is beginning to go back to normal, but at the same time become hell again.
As a resolution, loose (plot) ends are being tied
Like Anole’s thoughts about his cut off arm
The explanation of Rockslide’s Lava form
And what will become of Pixie now that she lost part of her soul.
As for the rising action, new conflicts (such as below) are created.
(BTW the girl i the picture and the guy on the right [the one not receiving some action] sort of like like each other. That explains the reaction on the next pannel)
4. Then there is the usual way (from introduction to resolution) , like in the recent volumes of Hawkeye.
Uniformly, all these structures have to have to pass through the introduction and rising action no matter how short or long they are or have to be.
Up next …
If there is a plot then there are also plot devices. Like every form of literature, there are different ways each device is applied. And that goes for comics as well.
link: PLOT DEVICES
(all articles part of this series will be placed under the tag of elements of comics)
- How I feel about this character:
UGH SHE’S WONDERFUL she’s talented and powerful and a cool character to study and I feel like I want to know so much more about her and my impression of her has become imbued with fic I’ve read involving her sighshe’s like nine years old and spoiled rotten she’s pretty great
- All the people I ship romantically with this character: occasionally Tommy, occasionally Eli, uH occasionally Cassie tbh
- My non-romantic OTP for this character: CLINT BARTON/KATE BISHOP…
- My unpopular opinion about this character: I don’t ship Clint/Kate I’M SORRY
- One thing I wish would happen / had happened with this character in canon: I wish we knew more about her sigh
- my het ship: Kate/Tommy/Eli okay good
- my fem/slash ship: Kate/Cassie but I want moRE
- my OTP: Kate/world domination
- my OT3: Kate/Tommy/Eli
- my cross over ship: uM WOW Kate/Asha or Kate/Sansa would be RAD
- my kink: um god I don’t know
- a headcanon fact: basically everything in this fic I accept as canon despite it being an AU and all that
- my gender bend: would be basically the same Idk except less rad because rich white cismale privilege